Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership and Development

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Everyone may be different, but we all share one common goal: we want to move our career forward. 

Maybe you feel like you can do better, or you don’t fit in where you work, or you’re simply ambitious! Maybe you are feeling stuck in your position or feel like you deserve more. Are you tired of working for someone, helping them generate a mountain of cash then only taking a piece from that mountain? Then why not become that someone – the leader of the organization? Sounds good right?

This article goes in-depth about what an online master’s in organizational leadership entails, comparing this master’s program to an MBA, the advantages of an online master’s in organizational leadership, the career opportunities (and salaries), if this program is worth it, and the top 10 online master’s degree programs for organizational leadership.

What is an Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership?

An organizational leadership master’s degree essentially teaches you how to optimize efficiency to achieve organizational goals. The degree focuses on influencing people to have the most positive impact when managing a group of people through teaching or enhancing the following skills:

Problem Solving and Decision Making

When you think about it, the best service you can provide is when you find a problem and find a way to solve the problem. This concept dates back to when humans first existed but has developed into many different options in today’s society. 

For example, if your county has bad bakers, you can solve this problem by finding a good baker to produce goods everyone will love. It’s the simplest, yet most effective method for building a successful business.

What an online master’s in organizational leadership teaches is how to effectively solve problems in a high-tension environment while managing your time appropriately. Once you master this essential skill, you’re well on your way to becoming a good leader.

Combined with problem-solving is decision making. This can be easy, but can also be hard. Decisions can range from picking the right wallpaper for your office to deciding whether to fire an employee.

Everyone makes decisions daily, eg. whether you want to walk to work or drive the car to work. But an online master’s in organizational leadership teaches how to effectively make the right decisions to propel yourself and your team to every type of success you can think of! 

Once again, this is a skill that dates back to when humans first existed but can be applied to every scenario. When becoming an organizational leader, you have to make key decisions which in the long term affects the state of your business.

Communicating (and Listening) Effectively 

Have you ever worked for a company and felt your voice wasn’t being heard or taken into account by management? Then you know exactly how not to manage a group of people.

There’s a saying – “everyone knows something someone else does not.” Therefore, as a leader, it is your responsibility to make sure you effectively take into account everyone’s recommendations or feedback to help propel your business.

Being able to communicate effectively is easily the most important skill in becoming an organizational leader. The bottom line is if you’re in management leadership and your staff doesn’t understand you, your company will not understand you. Therefore, the aim is to always build a group of people who understand each other, help each other (regardless of egos), and to build a group of people who are assets, not a liability.

This group of people can be built by establishing clear communication, so everyone knows their role in helping the company succeed. This is all part of team development and leadership.

An online master’s in organizational development will help you learn effective communication skills so that you can work with everyone to ensure information is communicated. Therefore, a master’s degree will definitely help in your organizational leadership development. It’ll also teach you how to effectively take everyone’s recommendations into account.

Relationship Building and Team Building 

Building relationships is vital when being an organizational leader. It includes many benefits such as you getting new clients, retaining current customers and managing your reputation.

Not only that but when you are a leader, building relationships with your workers will ensure they feel closer to you and like you more, so they will definitely be more likely to work better and more effectively for them. Think about it – would you rather work for someone you like or someone you hate. It’s a no-brainer.

Overall, your team will feel they’re a part of a community and a second family – this is essential so everyone can work to the best of their abilities and eventually reach their potential.

Building relationships correlates directly to team building because strong relationships lead to a strong team. A strong team can go on to reach goals you have only dreamed of, hence why it is vital if not essential for a business.  I talk about building a team in an earlier post. 

As a leader, you also want to develop leadership potential in others, so you can delegate, only completing essential management tasks, instead of always putting out fires.

An online master’s in organizational leadership teaches you how to build effective relationships, how to build an effective team, and eventually how to develop leadership potential in others. 

Identifying Future Innovations and Opportunities

Once a person reaches a goal, they want more – another goal to accomplish. As an organizational leader, you should always be looking at how to move your business forward, so your business can impact more people’s lives in a positive manner.

We see this every day with big companies like Apple and Samsung – they’re in a constant battle to make the best technological devices. Therefore, they always compete, trying to find new, innovative, never-done-before methods to uphold their reputation and excel in their business.

An online master’s degree in organizational leadership helps you understand how to set your mind to be in a position where you identify future innovations, but you also implement them into your lives.

Understanding Your Business Environment and Operations

This is pretty self-explanatory, but hugely important, nonetheless. Leaders must understand how the environment is changing and the impact of those changes on business. Therefore, another essential leadership skill is flexibility.

Flexibility means adapting to any situation that’s affected your original business plans. This skill separates leaders from people who work for leaders because whenever a problem approaches you, you’ll always look for solutions, instead of letting your business fail. 

There’s a saying “become comfortable with the uncomfortable.” That’s what leadership is, always dealing with the uncomfortable because no one else wants to deal with it. Once you master this skill, there is nothing that can stop you and your business from succeeding.

An online master’s in organizational leadership will teach/enhance your flexibility skills, so you can counter problems with little thought. Increase your flexibility through practice. Put steer away from high-tension environments and force yourself to jump in and find solutions.

Using Integrity and Ethics

Integrity is essential in a professional environment because if you can’t own up to your mistakes, people will not trust you. If you own up to mistakes, your co-workers will know you’re honest and will trust you more. They’re going to be more willing to work with you because they can trust you.

Integrity and ethics also include a whole variety of things, most importantly acting in a professional manner in a working environment. If you don’t act professionally, people will not even consider the potential you have, which is a loss because they will automatically not respect what you have to offer.

An online master’s in organizational development extends the importance of integrity, especially in a professional, working environment.

Thinking Strategically, System-Wide and Holistically

There is a saying business “don’t let personal things get in the way of your business” – this is very important because it is very hard to separate business life from personal life. Once you master this skill, there will be a lot fewer problems in your business environment.

Strategic thinking enables a business owner to determine how to use their resources most effectively and advance the company toward its objectives. Strategic thinking makes the management team focus on markets that are most likely to succeed. With a strategic business plan in place (from lots of research), your business follows an effective plan that allows you to exceed limits.

An online master’s in organizational leadership puts you in positions where you must plan effectively and execute strategies to help you extend this skill further in your leadership career.

Spreading and Inspiring Others to Share the Organization’s Vision 

There is no better feeling than when you’re the leader of a team and everyone believes in a shared vision for your business. The hard part is finding the right people who share the same vision, but once you do, you create a group of like-minded individuals who are ready to work with you to reach your goals.

Inspiring others with your vision ensures your company values and morals can be shared with more people (eg., through word of mouth). As more people trust your company, there will be more people who’re likely to purchase from you.

Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership vs. MBA

There’s another popular Master’s degree program that many people pursue – the MBA, Master’s in Business Administration. But what’s the difference between an MBA and the master’s in organizational leadership that we’ve been talking about? 

With an MBA, students extend the skills they gained in their undergraduate studies of business. This program is specifically designed to get you ready for work in a corporate environment for a corporate company.

With an MBA, students will spend a lot of time learning about different disciplines like accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, and other business-related topics.

So then, what’s the difference between an MBA and an online master’s in organizational leadership? There are a few differences between an online master’s in organizational leadership and an MBA. 

To start with, a master’s in organizational development gives a wider and deeper understanding of the leadership part of business, all while learning key management skills necessary to run a successful business effectively. 

On the other hand, an MBA dives into a variety of factors and pressures that influence a business. Therefore, an MBA will get you ready to work in the corporate sector. There’s less of a focus on leadership as there is on the business side of management. 

Organizational Leadership Job opportunities 

You might be asking what career opportunities there are after getting graduating and whether the degree might even be worth it. When you get an online master’s in organizational leadership, there are a variety of careers you can get after you graduate. 

There are two main paths (which are broken into thousands of paths) – making and managing your own business or becoming a leader in another business.

1. Human Resources Manager

A career in human resources is the most common path for those with an organizational leadership degree. This is because it’s a great position to improve the processes of the business through effective leadership skills.

When an organizational leader is brought onto a team, the aim is for the team to work together more effectively. They strive to put workers in a position at which they can show their full potential while maintaining high employee satisfaction.

Typical day-to-day tasks can include:

  • Administrative tasks
  • Employee termination
  • Employee engagement
  • Learning and development
  • Compensation handling
  • Rewards and benefits handling

As well as this the projected employment growth is currently a growth of 9% over the next decade. The median salary for a human resources manager is $110,120.

2. Compensation and Benefits Manager

This job title is a part of being a human resource manager, but focusing on the compensation and benefits side. They work to make sure all workers are provided with the correct compensation and benefits. This is essential to ensure fairness for the employees of a company.

Typical day-to-day tasks involve:

  • Create program budgets to keep all company operations within that budget
  • Ensure all compensation and benefit plans comply with all federal and state regulations
  • Analyse the distribution of pay and benefits information to the organization’s employees
  • Pick competitive wage rates to alter compensation plans
  • Manage outside partners for example insurance brokers, benefits vendors and investment managers
  • Control the organization’s pay and benefits structure
  • Supervise the work activities of specialists and support staff

The projected employment growth over the next decade is predicted to be a 5% growth. The median salary for a compensation and benefits manager id $119,120.

3. Management Analyst

This job role suits people who’re looking for more of a consultant role. Management analysts work to increase the efficiency of their clients’ services, so as to make the services faster and better. A master’s in organizational leadership helps prepare future management analysts to identify and understand complications, and then find viable effective solutions. Therefore, they help the company find and implement the best solutions.

Typical day to day tasks involve:

  • Accumulate and organize information on problems or procedures
  • Interview workers and test the efficiency of the work performed, equipment, and personnel
  • Plan work problems and procedures i.e. communications, information flow, integrated production methods, inventory control, or cost analysis
  • Prepare manuals for new forms, reports, procedures or equipment, all according to organizational policy

The projected employment growth for this job opportunity is 14%. The median salary for a management analyst is $82,450.

4. Sales Manager

A sales manager is responsible for an organization meeting sales targets through effective planning and budgeting. They need to understand the business inside out while also effectively managing sales representatives in their team.

Typical day-to-day tasks include:

  • Review and find a resolution for customer complaints regarding sales and service
  • Communicate with potential customers regarding equipment needs and advise customers on what to purchase based on their own needs
  • Prepare budgets and approve budget expenditures
  • Create price schedules and discount rates
  • Analyze data about regional and local sales managers and their staff
  • Look at operational data to project sales and identify key information such as profitability

The projected employment growth for a sales manager is a growth of 7% over the next decade. The median salary of a sales manager is currently $121,060.

5. Training and Development Manager

The role of a training and development manager is to track the progress of all workers in a company and to devise new effective methods to ensure everyone works to their full potential and their full capabilities. They help to spread the company vision to all workers.

When every person in a company shares a vision and works together for the purpose of improvement, the possibilities for success are endless. Overall, a positive environment is created through increased happiness, improved efficiency, and overall success of the organization.

The projected employment growth for training and development managers over the next decade is a growth of 10%. The median salary for training and development managers is $108,250.

6. School Principal

As you can tell by now, a master’s in organizational doesn’t trap you in a business career. Leadership is a broad skill and can be used in nearly all industries including education. Educational leaders, like a school principal, are needed all over the world.  

As a principal, displaying effective communication and team-building skills allows the teachers and staff to be in a positive learning environment which will reflect through the successful grades the school will produce.

Typical day-to-day tasks include:

  • Improving school leadership
  • Managing people, processes, and data
  • Nurturing and teaching essential leadership skills to others
  • Making an effective and enjoyable learning environment for students
  • Creating a vision of academic success so all students are motivated to succeed

The projected employment growth for the role of a school principal over the next decade is 8%. The median salary for school principals is $94,390.

7. Military Leader

If you’re currently serving in the military or seeking a career in the military, earning a master’s in organizational development might be for you. The reason why is a master’s in organizational development contains a lot of related skills to be a military leader. Individuals who show proof of leadership skills in these programs have gone on to become Generals and other ranking officers.

Typical day-to-day tasks for enlisted personnel include:

  • Fixing and working with military equipment
  • Being a close part of military operations, disaster relief, and training or combat
  • Managing junior personnel

Typical day-to-day tasks for officers include:

  • Analyzing and providing legal, medical, and other services to personnel.
  • Gathering, organizing, and leading enlisted personnel in activities and operations.
  • Acting as a command on ships, planes, and armed vehicles.

Is a Master’s in Organizational Leadership Worth It?

The answer is a resounding YES.

Master’s of Organizational Leadership (MSOL) Graduates Have High-Income Potential

As you have seen above, MSOL graduates can make six-figure salaries. The main reason is the key leadership skills that come while studying towards a degree. An online master’s in organizational development teaches you to become comfortable with high-pressure situations and make effective, concise decisions while making as little mistakes as possible. 

All employers look for a person who has these skills because then they can complete their own tasks and delegate. Having these skills makes an employer comfortable in hiring you. Describing the details of the degree in an interview captures an employer’s attention – they’ll definitely be more likely to feel that you’re the right person for the job.

There Are Many Options

Effective leadership skills are like coffee – you need it. This degree not only teaches effective organizational leadership skills, but it also provides the use of these skills in multiple different environments. Most people who take the degree want to be a successful entrepreneur and leader. This degree is definitely targeted to entrepreneurs because it teaches them resilience, hard work, and perseverance – 3 skills essential in entrepreneurship.

How to Choose an Accredited Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership?

Well, the first tip I would give is to research the universities and the content of their courses to come to a decision on which program intrigues you. You’ll have to ask see if online degree programs work for you because online studying isn’t for everyone. Learn about the teaching styles of the teachers that teach master’s in organizational leadership online to see if it fits with your learning style.

Also, ask around and research the individual universities. Compare their rankings and student satisfaction rates. Another good idea is to take advantage of any open days to learn more about the cultures of the place of study to feel more confident in the setting which you would fit into.

What Are The Best Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership?

10. Western Governors University – Salt Lake City, UT

Western Governors University is a private, online institution offering convenient education options for undergraduate and graduate learners. The graduation rate at this university is 29%. The school focuses on four major disciplines: business, education, information technology, and health/nursing. On average, students complete the school’s master’s in management in leadership in 18 months.

The program focuses on key subject areas, such as management communication, data-driven decision-making, business acumen, and ethical leadership.

9. Trevecca Nazarene University – Nashville, TN 

Trevecca Nazarene University boasts a catalog of 73 bachelor’s degrees, 16 master’s degrees, and three doctoral degrees. They have a graduation rate of 55%. The Christ-centered institution also offers an assortment of asynchronous online programs, including a master’s in organizational leadership.

The interdisciplinary program focuses on personal leadership development, interpersonal/group leadership, and organizational impact. 

8. Concordia University – Irvine, CA

Concordia University Irvine is a Lutheran liberal arts institution that focuses on preparing students for lives of learning, service, and leadership. The university has a graduation rate of 63%. Through CUI’s Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling, students can pursue an online master’s degree in organizational leadership.

7. Lewis University – Romeoville, IL

Lewis University is a Catholic institution offering undergraduate and graduate education opportunities to more than 7,000 students — both on-campus and online. Lewis delivers all online coursework asynchronously. Students can earn a 36-credit master’s in organizational leadership within 18 months.

Eight required courses cover topics like leadership theory, conflict management, and workplace research. 

6. Regis University – Denver, CO

Regis University is a Jesuit institution with more than 10,000 students enrolled online and on-site at four campuses across Colorado. The university has a graduation rate of 69%. The school’s online master’s in organizational leadership program helps graduates prepare for managerial roles, teaching students to recognize opportunities, define problems, and implement creative solutions.

The 30-credit curriculum requires courses in business intelligence and analysis, organizational culture and design, and foundations of organizational behavior. 

5. Lincoln Christian University – Lincoln, IL

Lincoln Christian University offers on-campus teaching and offers six programs to distance learners. They have a graduation rate of 71%. The school’s online master’s degree in organizational leadership attracts students from around the globe, representing Fortune 500 companies, non-profit foundations, churches, state governments, and small businesses alike.

Framed with a Christian worldview and biblical values, each of the program’s ten courses prepares graduates to serve as leaders, make strategic decisions, and handle change and conflict. 

4. Michigan State University – East Lansing, MI

Michigan State University is a major public research university with a 5,300-acre campus; about 50,000 students; and more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. They boast a graduation rate of 80%. Dozens of MSU programs are also available online, including a 30-credit master’s in management, strategy, and leadership.

Their online master’s degree in organizational leadership curriculum covers concepts in strategic analysis, human resources, diversity, and team management. 

3. Duquesne University – Pittsburgh, PA

The only Spiritan Catholic institution of higher education in the country, Duquesne University is committed to service, diversity, and excellence in liberal arts and professional education. They have a graduation rate of 80%. Duquesne enrolls approximately 9,300 students and offers more than 20 online programs, including an online master’s in organizational leadership.

Well suited for working professionals, this online master’s in organizational leadership graduate program offers three annual start dates and asynchronous course delivery.

2. Gonzaga University – Spokane, WA

Gonzaga University is a Jesuit institution offering undergraduate and graduate education in the liberal arts. Gonzaga has a graduation rate of 86%. Approximately 1,600 master’s students enroll each year, half of whom learn exclusively through distance learning. Gonzaga’s online master’s degree in organizational leadership requires 30 credits.

Core classes focus on developing foundational knowledge and skills in leadership, communication, and ethics, while five elective classes offer customization options. 

1. Pepperdine University – Malibu, CA 

Founded in the Church of Christ tradition, Pepperdine University serves a diverse student body of about 3,600 undergraduates and 4,300 graduates. They have the highest graduation rate at 93%. 

Pepperdine’s School of Education and Psychology offers 18 degrees, including an online master’s in organizational leadership and learning. Students complete this 32-credit program primarily online, with attendance required at one face-to-face weekend in Los Angeles each term. 


In conclusion, an online master’s degree in organizational leadership is something you should definitely explore if you’re looking towards the development of your organizational leadership and management skills. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership?

An online master’s in organizational leadership will teach you to achieve goals through optimizing efficiency, communicating effectively, influencing people to work toward achieving organizational goals, and enhancing your overall leadership skills.

What is the Best Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership?

These are the Top 10 schools that offer an Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership.
1. Pepperdine University
2. Gonzaga University
3. Duquesne University
4. Michigan State University
5. Lincoln Christian University
6. Regis University
7. Lewis University
8. Concordia University
9. Trevecca Nazarene University
10. Western Governors University

Is an Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership Worth It?

Yes, the master’s degree is definitely worth it. Learning essential leadership and management skills will help to make you a better leader. 

How to Choose an Accredited Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership

Research as much as you can about the universities on their websites and on other sites. You want to see if their programs will fulfill the goals you have with getting a master’s degree. Ask alumni and get their thoughts on whether or not they thought the university was able to give the students what they wanted out of the schools. 

Doing your research will help you choose the best master’s degree program for you. 

What Job Opportunities Are There With an Online Master’s in Organizational Leadership ?

Graduates will have the skills to excel in a number of different careers. 10 of the more popular job opportunities that have the potential to earn in the six figures: 

1. Human Resources Manager
2. Compensation and Benefits Manager
3. Management Analyst
4. Sales Manager
5. Training and Development Manager
6. School Principal
7. Military Leader